We asked Other Words for Smoke author Sarah Maria Griffin for her top cultural picks this weekend...
I’m always late to see things in the cinema and seldom get a chance to go, but I loved White Crow recently, which is biopic about the Russian ballet dancer, Rudolf Nureyev. A hymn to ambition, and a gorgeous portrait of Paris at the end of the Cold War. However, if you don’t want to leave home, you’d do yourself a blessing by watching A Date For Mad Mary on Netflix. It breaks my heart every single time.
I’m really bad at listening to music, but I’ve gotten really obsessed with Luxury Elite lately. She’s great for writing to. The Mountain Goats are about to release their Dungeons & Dragons concept album, too, In League With Dragons – which I’ve only heard one track from so far, but is raw poetry. The Mountain Goats are very emotionally total, so I have to kind of carve out time to listen to them, but they’re truly something.
I’m currently reading Follow This Thread by Henry Eliot, which is a beautiful non-fiction book about mazes and labyrinths: the writing on the page moves and shifts as the progression of history does. It’s a gorgeous artifact and makes a fascinating subject really accessible.
I’m revisiting Sinead Gleeson’s Constellations, often, and looking forward to Deirdre Sullivan’s Perfectly Preventable Deaths. I almost always carry a book of poetry in my handbag in case my phone dies or the internet is too depressing: for a good cure and good perspective on the world, I recommend Sam Sax’s Madness.
If you haven’t seen Russian Doll yet, please do yourself the kindness of watching it over a few nights. The less you know about it the better, going in, so I’ll say nothing of the plot, only that Natasha Leyonne makes falling down the stairs an act of pure artistry.
Is it bad that I literally can’t remember the last gig I was at? As mentioned above, I’m really bad at music. However, I will do everything in my power to go to Janelle Monae this summer.
Helena Egri’s papercuts: the pieces she posts on her Instagram are so intricate that I could spend hours looking at them. Maybe I love paper because of the job I’m in, but the detail she can achieve with a scalpel is astounding.
I’m unashamedly obsessed with The Creep Dive: three Irish gals unpacking and deep-diving the weirder end of the stories you see in the news, or online. They manage to feel like good company, like imaginary friends or something, as well as telling often absolutely astounding stories about the more creepy creeping that happens in the world. It’s never exploitative or gratuitous but often is very tense and quite spooky. I find myself looking forward to it dropping every Friday.
Can I say a video game here? I played a really stunning game called Firewatch recently, where you play a person who is stationed in a huge national park, watching out for wildfires. It’s a gorgeous study in ageing and sacrifice as well as escape and the wilderness – a visual novel with an unsettling mystery at the core. I loved it, and kind of can’t stop thinking about it.
The Next Big Thing
I always feel really behind on the times, but I’d like to here reiterate how cool I think The Creep Dive is – and Irish podcasting as a movement. Popsessed, as well, is redefining what listeners can expect, and elevating conversation on a political level – as well as being a hilarious, topical take on pop culture around us. We’re growing some incredible talent here on our digital airwaves, and the sooner folks tune in, the better.
Sarah Maria Griffin will feature on the Library of Progress stage lineup at Body&Soul, 21st – 23rd June 2019. Visit www.bodyandsoul.ie for more information.